Making the Timber Shows Great Again
On May 4 a change of ownership was announced on the Timber & Working Wood Show Facebook page. In recent years both attendance figures and exhibitor numbers have declined for these shows so the news was not unexpected, and nor were the new management’s plans for change and renewal. Wood Review spoke to Candice Tocknell'Gray of Phoenix Exhibitions Pty Ltd about her vision for the shows.
AWR: Congratulations on taking over the Timber & Working With Wood Shows. It’s 30 years since the TWWWS was established in Australia. Thousands and thousands of people have now visited these shows. What is it that has drawn you to want to carry on their great lineage?
CTG: Thank you Wood Review, your support is truly appreciated. I started working at Carbatec four years ago as a Retail Stores Manager. While there I had the opportunity to attend quite a few of the Timber & Working With Wood Shows as an exhibitor and it was at my very first show that I fell in love with the entire concept and lineage of the shows.
I loved the smell of the timber in the venues, the excitement of the exhibitors, the way everyone came together in the setups. The atmosphere of the shows was electric and it drew me in completely. Knowing they had been around for such a long time was even more exciting to me, and I knew that as time changed, the shows would need to grow and diversify in order to continue for a further 30 years.
AWR: What is your vision for the TWWS? What is the direction you want to take the shows in?
CTG: My vision for the shows will be to keep the timber aspect quite prominent however moving forward, starting with Brisbane Show 2019, I will be introducing other artisans into the show to attract a wider demographic of guests. I want my exhibitors to be able to run workshops and pass their knowledge onto future generations, whether that is woodworking or any other forms of art.
AWR: Can you reveal any of the new attractions you have planned?
CTG: Well… I am still in the planning stages but I will say that the shows will become more interactive and hands-on in a wider range of different artistry. Our slogan will be…. Imagine Learn Create.
AWR: The shows have grown smaller over the years. Are you planning to boost their size and appeal?
CTG: By encompassing more of the arts we will be able to attract more exhibitors and a much larger audience. Each venue that I have looked at and have booked has plenty of room for the expansion I have in mind. We are working hard behind the scenes to make sure that the venues cater better to our guests and exhibitors i.e. free parking is now a reality at most venues, and easy public transport.
AWR: In these days of online retailing what do you see as being the main points of difference that a trade show type format can offer?
CTG: Learning and creating with your own hands, having the imagination to make something amazing, and a place to make it become a reality – that is what our guests are looking for – it’s what I look for too.
AWR: Will the shows still take place in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne? Are any new locations planned?
CTG: Yes the shows will continue in the cities that they are currently in, including Canberra. With regards to future locations nothing is set in stone but we are looking at other opportunities.
AWR: What would you like to say to future visitors to the TWWWS?
CTG: Come to our shows, Imagine Learn Create, meet the exhibitors that are always willing to part with valuable knowledge, and help us to make it grow and be great once again.
AWR: How can people get in touch with you or find out more about the new wood show format?
CTG: Guests and future exhibitors can contact me via email or via Facebook (Timber & Working With Wood Show) where I would be more than happy to chat and hear ideas and feedback.
The next Timber & Workiing With Show will take place from July 20–22, 2018 at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse, NSW